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Photo shows Papakura Marae CEO, Tony Kake.
Achieving the best outcomes for a child or young person often only occurs through purposeful, positive engagement and participation from the wider family/whanau. Over the past year Auckland Region Project Specialist, Danny Thompson has supported social workers as a kai korero (facilitator) in over 17 family group conferences, and numerous hui-a-whanau, held on marae.
As a result, he says he’s seen really positive outcomes and believes that establishing meaningful and respectful relationships with local marae enhances the way we work with Māori and builds our capacity to achieve robust and well supported plans for children and young people.
Holding hui-a-whanau or FGC on marae is determined by the whanau Danny says, and often they are really appreciative of CYF arranging this at their request. “We’ve been able to navigate our way through the most difficult and complex Māori cases and achieved good outcomes for mokopuna” he says.
One local marae which is regularly used by our sites is Papakura Marae and Marae CEO, Tony Kake, is really supportive of what is able to be achieved for whanau.
Tony says the marae is absolutely committed to building positive and meaningful relationships and providing an environment that is culturally responsive and enables whanau to feel at ease. For a lot of our whanau the marae and the tikanga on marae eliminates many barriers.
“I think whanau feel more comfortable and feel more empowered. Coming to the marae and being immersed in ancestral connections, wairua and tikanga can only bring positive vibes to a hui” he says. “Hopefully whanau get a sense of neutrality by being on a marae.”
Tony explains everything on marae is based on tikanaga principles and values which are non-negotiable. He says these help to create a place of peace; against violence or arguments. “We are encouraged to have the courageous conversations but not in an argumentative way. I am clear that the Marae want better outcomes for whanau and the marae environment can enable that to happen.”
“I know the team at CYF use this place to try to enable, because at the end of the day I believe that CYF want a positive outcome,” says Tony. “We facilitate so there is clear communication and clear outcomes are agreed. It’s about working in partnership, it’s about working together.
Danny shares a recent case
I was recently asked to assist a C&P co-ordinator and social worker to meet the cultural needs of a whanau who there were a number of concerns for. The father was known by NZ Police and Police were asked to be on standby during the pre-FGC hui-a-whanau held at site due to the risk of the whanau becoming volatile.
The whanau were resistant to our processes and colluded that the concerns were not valid. However they did agreed to hold the FGC on Manurewa marae and for myself to attend to support their cultural needs.
Supported by Manurewa Marae kaumatua and the kai mahi for the father, we were able to move through the FGC without any issues and an agreed plan was formulated to transition the rangatahi back into the care of a whanau caregiver. The environment of the marae and those who led the culturally led process, supported by the social worker and co-ordinator, are what made the difference for this whanau.